Dismissing official figures: ‘Relatives to reveal true number of missing persons’

Published: April 9, 2012

Advocacy group urges chief justice to hold monthly hearings in Quetta.

QUETTA: The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VFBMP), an organisation striving for the safe recovery of missing persons, urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to hold monthly hearings on the issue in Quetta.

“Relatives are coming to Quetta with the hope that the chief justice will recover their loved ones who have been missing for years,” VFBMP Chairman Nasrullah Baloch told The Express Tribune.

Baloch added that the relatives of all 1,300 missing persons will appear before the court and record their statements before Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. “This move will prove that the government and its functionaries are lying (when they say) merely 47 persons are missing,” he said. Baloch further explained that commissions set up by the government were not cooperating – and were even trying to complicate the issue.

While he lauded the progress that had been made so far, he emphasised that there was a long way to go. “The recovery of four missing persons is a good sign. (However), we have the complete details of 1,300 missing persons.”

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), as many as 172 people are missing from Balochistan while the Balochistan Home and Tribal Affairs Department stated that only 47 people are currently missing.

The latter figure is corroborated by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the security establishment and government officials across the board.

Commenting on the contradictory figures, Baloch said the relatives will appear before the court in order to reveal the true numbers. “The government and its institutions are lying. Hundreds are missing from Kohlu and Dera Bugti alone,” he said.

He added that his organisation had withdrawn the decision to boycott court proceedings regarding missing persons’ cases. “We wanted the chief justice to hear the cases. The issue of missing persons will settle down if he holds monthly hearings in Quetta,” he emphasised once again.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2012.

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